Announcing our first book: Dust: The Archive and Cultural History

Welcome to Archivists Reading Together! Today I’m announcing the first of what I hope will be many books we will read together, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History by Carolyn Steedman. I’ll plan to kick off the discussion on Monday, February 18. This should give us all time to acquire the book and read it.

I’m not quite sure yet how the discussion will be structured, but I think we’ll approach it thematically rather than chapter by chapter. I’ve been told that the later chapters of this book may be less relevant to archivists, so if you don’t get around to finishing it, don’t fret. You can still be part of the conversation.

And please note, as I cover in the About page, this discussion is open to everyone–not just archivists. We’re going to be talking about books about archives, so I think archivists will be primary audience, but all are welcome. Please let me know if there’s anything else that I need to establish upfront. (Comments policy also covered in the About section.)

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22 thoughts on “Announcing our first book: Dust: The Archive and Cultural History

  1. Hey Kate! I think this is such an awesome idea, and i’m really looking forward to participating. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of the country so I’ll miss the February discussion, but can’t wait for book #2!

    • Oh, Seth, promises like that were made to be broken! Be a rebel and join us! Or are you just hoping we’ll have a light “beach reading” book for the summer? (Which we might, actually.)

      Seriously, we’ll be happy to see you whenever you can make it.

  2. Great idea and good starting book! The last one was fun. I’d like to put in a vote for Stoler’s Along the Archival Grain for a future discussion. I’ve always wanted to read it. I can’t wait to hear all the outside perspectives of archives. Bridging the “archival divide,” one book at a time…. – Josh

  3. This is great. One of my resolutions was to read an archives-related book every month, so this is perfect motivation! Excited to get started.

    • My resolution too, and no better way to keep a resolution than to make it public, right? 😉 You think we can do one a month? After all, not everybody has to participate every month.

  4. I received this book from my undergraduate adviser as I was heading off for graduate school, so I’m excited to re-read it and discuss it with people now that I am actually part of the profession. 🙂

  5. Great choice! I’m looking forward to the discussion next month :). I find too often I end up with a list of books I want to read/should read and don’t make the time so having something like for motivation is great!

  6. Hello Kate, another great idea of yours! Although I’ve read ‘Dust’ before, I need to revisit it this year to do some serious note-taking and commenting, so perfect timing (not to mention the intellectual stimulation and insights to be derived from such a knowledgeable group).

  7. Glad to be doing this groups discuss again after a few years. Title reminds me of all those articles about “discoveries” in the “dusty” archives. Looking forward to it – but I’ve heard there is something in there about critical theory, which gives me the willys

    • I know how you feel. But remember, this isn’t grad school. We’re reading for fun. If you want to skip over some buzzword-filled paragraphs, go ahead and do it. I’ve been told the later parts of the book may be less directly relevant to archives, so maybe you’ll come to that conclusion too. Don’t slog through something if you’re not getting anything out of it. Sometimes skimming is the best approach.

  8. I love online book clubs and it’s so much easier to stay connected to the profession like this. I just requested it from my library, so should have it by next week. This is great. Thanks Kate!

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